William Palmer (1805-1887) had an interesting heritage. He was a descendent of William Palmer who came to Plymouth in the ship Fortune in 1621 and also John and Priscilla Alden through their daughter Elizabeth. At the age of thirteen he was sent out on his own by his father Judge Palmer of Rhode Island. Later, he was converted and then left his job in a dry goods store to get an education. He enrolled at Phillips Andover Academy and later at Yale University. As a child he learned to record the expression of what his heart felt, often in verse form. While he was a tutor at a New York school, in 1830, his soul was filled with deep emotion as he thought about the riches of Christ's grace and love. As a result of this experience, he composed six stanzas. The words were written on a loose sheet and then accurately copied into a small book of verses which he often carried in his pocket. He never expected his verses to be seen by anybody else. But two or three years later, on a street in Boston, he met Dr. Lowell Mason, a well known composer of hymn tunes. When Mason invited Palmer to write something for a new hymnal, Palmer drew out his notebook and shared this poem. The musician was attracted by it and requested a copy. They stepped into a doorway and there made a copy. Dr. Mason was so impressed with the poem that he composed an original tune to which the hymn is almost always sung. Dr. Mason later told Palmer "You may live many years and do many good things, but I think you will be best known to posterity as the author of My Faith Looks Up to Thee." Four of his stanzas are generally sung today. The words, penned in the quiet of his room, are profound and still applicable today. Rejoice this week in this reminder of God's marvelous grace to you as you continue to place your faith in the One who will someday bear each of His family safe as a ransomed soul.
My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine!
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee,
Pure warm, and changeless be, a living fire!
While life's dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread, be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.
When ends life's transient dream,
When death's cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!
You can listen to this great hymn being sung here. LISTEN